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Coach passengers in sleeping car rooms?

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Kurt

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Hi,

Tomorrow I will be taking the auto train from Lorton to Sanford. It is going to be my 5th time on the train - I am a junior at UMiami who lives in the northeast. Normally I'd be in a roomette but because of the pandemic and the lower prices that come with it I decided to stay in a bedroom. For the first time I have 3 friends coincidentally also on the train, they will all be in coach however. I told them they are more than welcome to come hang out in my bedroom during the afternoon part of the journey. They won't be sleeping there but I don't know if this would be disallowed or anger the sleeping porter, especially because of the pandemic.
 

pennyk

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Generally, coach passengers are prohibited from sitting/sleeping/visiting sleeper cars. Although I have not traveled during the pandemic, I am assuming that rule will be more strictly enforced now.

BTW - Good luck in college. I grew up in Miami (Kendall/Pinecrest area), but left in 1970 to go to college at UF.
 

Siegmund

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Can't speak to how the pandemic may have changed things --- in the past, I've been able to escort a visitor into the sleeper, but if they had tried to come through on their own, they would have been turned around when they came into the diner from the "wrong" direction.
 

Acela150

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Generally, coach passengers are prohibited from sitting/sleeping/visiting sleeper cars. Although I have not traveled during the pandemic, I am assuming that rule will be more strictly enforced now.
This is pretty much the answer. I would ask your Sleeper Attendant if its ok before doing anything.
 

Dakota 400

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Hi,

Tomorrow I will be taking the auto train from Lorton to Sanford. It is going to be my 5th time on the train - I am a junior at UMiami who lives in the northeast. Normally I'd be in a roomette but because of the pandemic and the lower prices that come with it I decided to stay in a bedroom. For the first time I have 3 friends coincidentally also on the train, they will all be in coach however. I told them they are more than welcome to come hang out in my bedroom during the afternoon part of the journey. They won't be sleeping there but I don't know if this would be disallowed or anger the sleeping porter, especially because of the pandemic.
Please return to this Forum and thread and let us know what happens.
 
K

Kurt

Guest
Hi everyone,
Thank you for your responses!

It seems like your answers were accurate and I unfortunately was not allowed to bring my friends into my sleeper car. From what I could tell from my attendant this was unrelated to the coronavirus. I don’t really understand the need for this rule especially since I could visit them in coach - maybe Amtrak doesn’t want people sleeping over?

Also, the “cross country cafe” was closed to sit-in, but the sleeper lounge strangely wasn’t, so we spent a lot of the evening there. I think Amtrak like everyone is still working out how to respond to this virus so I understand that confusion. Regardless in the future I think we will all travel in the sleeper.
 

Acela150

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From Amtrak's perspective, the rule makes sense. Without such a rule there would be incentive for customers to avoid paying for accommodations used. People can be very creative.
Exactly, if they're not paying for the use of a Roomette or Bedroom, why should they be allowed to use something that they aren't paying for?
 

PVD

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They have reasonable policies regarding "open sleeper" tickets, or in higher passenger counts for "day mode only" travel...
 

caravanman

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Thanks for coming back and letting us know how things worked out.
My own perspective is rather different to the majority on the forum, I believe.
Overcrowding* is not going to be acceptable, nor is rowdy behaviour in sleepers, but if two people had booked a bedroom, fine, then what difference would it make if one person had booked, and one had paid their coach fares and just came to the bedroom for a chat?
No revenue is lost, it seems as though having an "us and them" barrier is what is most important to members?
* What is the maximum number of adults that can book in one sleeper room? Maybe family room?
 

jiml

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* What is the maximum number of adults that can book in one sleeper room? Maybe family room?
I've seen 6 in both an Amtrak 10-6 bedroom and Superliner Family Bedroom. Don't know how many were actually booked in either. Personally we've done 4 people in both of those - 2 of which were children, and all booked officially.
 

railiner

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I have two thoughts on this....
First, as long as everyone pays their rail fare, what difference does it make how many crowd into a sleeper room? As a matter of fact, Amtrak makes out better, in those cases where someone joins a sleeper with an 'open ticket', it releases another coach space for Amtrak to sell. Amtrak does not charge any extra on the accommodation regardless of how many are booked in it. Perhaps they should, where meals are included for everyone in the sleeper. That brings another question...if the accommodation charge is the same for one or two occupants, then if someone is traveling solo, shouldn't they be entitled to two meals?

My second thought is that having more than the designed number in a room, could constitute a safety hazard (as in evacuation), not to mention perhaps being disruptive to the rest of the sleeper occupant's....
 

pennyk

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My second thought is that having more than the designed number in a room, could constitute a safety hazard (as in evacuation), not to mention perhaps being disruptive to the rest of the sleeper occupant's....
The safety issue is important since Amtrak wants to know which passengers are in the sleeper cars and which are in coach. This is crucial if there is some sort of an accident.
 

Barb Stout

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I have two thoughts on this....
First, as long as everyone pays their rail fare, what difference does it make how many crowd into a sleeper room? As a matter of fact, Amtrak makes out better, in those cases where someone joins a sleeper with an 'open ticket', it releases another coach space for Amtrak to sell. Amtrak does not charge any extra on the accommodation regardless of how many are booked in it. Perhaps they should, where meals are included for everyone in the sleeper. That brings another question...if the accommodation charge is the same for one or two occupants, then if someone is traveling solo, shouldn't they be entitled to two meals?
How does the "open ticket" thing work? Also, I thought the accommodation charge was per person rather than per room. I'm mixed up?
 

Exvalley

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The safety issue is important since Amtrak wants to know which passengers are in the sleeper cars and which are in coach. This is crucial if there is some sort of an accident.
There is also a security issue. If something goes missing from one of the rooms, Amtrak needs an accurate list of who was staying in the sleeping section. I know that this is practically unheard of, but if I was in Amtrak management, I would want to know who was in the sleeper section so I could look for patterns and have accurate information to give to law enforcement.
 

PVD

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The accommodation charge is one charge for the room. Rail fare is per person. A person traveling in a room is not entitled to a coach seat, they are attached to the room. If a passenger is boarding or detraining at a different station, or not continuing on or connecting from the same train as the person making the accommodation can be "attached" to the room which entitles them to use the room , the "sleeper lounge" station lounge if applicable, and meals.
 

20th Century Rider

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Remembering a journey on the EB where there were a bunch of kids leaving SEA to Whitefish to ski... must have been eight who had gathered in the room behind me and what a loud bunch of party people they were. Many complained to the attendant who said it was ok since they were all sleeper passengers. I complained a second time... when getting louder when the booz they were consuming took effect.

Needless to say it was a sleepless night... others complained as well. The attendant left the car early in the evening to eat and have sleep time in the dorm car. Finally I went to the diner and had a chat with the conductor who finally disbanded the group.

A good attendant would have stood up for others being upset with the commotion and would have also realized the safety danger. But it was not a good attendant. Perhaps I should have gone above the attendant and went to the conductor early on.

After many years riding the rails I have concluded that Amtrak does not properly manage staffing or job performance. 😒
 

Dakota 400

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I agree with Amtrak's policy of keeping Coach passengers out of the Sleepers. But, what if that policy allowed a brief "look-see" for those that might be interested?

December 27, 2018, I was on the Silver Meteor and dined with a Father and his 3 young sons (all of mid to upper elementary grade ages). Like me, they had just boarded at Washington and were excited since this was their first train trip. (They were en route to Disney World.) During our conversation, the fact that I was in a Sleeper came up. The Father and a couple of the boys asked me questions about that. The Father asked if it would be possible for them to have a quick "look-see" at a Sleeper. I told him that in my experience, no, it was not allowed.

Afterwards, I remembered as a young person my ability to visit the RMS Queen Mary prior to a sailing from New York. That brief visit was enough to make me want "to have that experience for myself". That led to many cruises during my lifetime. I wondered if such a visit to a Sleeper could be permitted, it might make an impression on a young person and they would "resolve": I am going to experience this myself. Does Amtrak loose potential future Sleeper guests by such a policy?
 

pennyk

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I agree with Amtrak's policy of keeping Coach passengers out of the Sleepers. But, what if that policy allowed a brief "look-see" for those that might be interested?
I believe most sleeping car attendants will permit a quick "look see." It is generally the sleeping car attendant or conductor that conducts the "tour." I have seen it done many times. In fact, a few years ago, I was in coach with friends traveling from Tampa to Orlando and my friends had never seen a sleeping car. I knew one of the attendants, and asked if he would show my friends a sleeping car. He happily did.
 

Dakota 400

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I believe most sleeping car attendants will permit a quick "look see." It is generally the sleeping car attendant or conductor that conducts the "tour." I have seen it done many times. In fact, a few years ago, I was in coach with friends traveling from Tampa to Orlando and my friends had never seen a sleeping car. I knew one of the attendants, and asked if he would show my friends a sleeping car. He happily did.
I wish I had known that! I did not think to ask my SCA if it would be OK. I did see them in the Dining Car the next morning. We didn't share a table this time, but I do remember we had a brief conversation about "how did you sleep".
 

Nick Farr

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I have two thoughts on this....
First, as long as everyone pays their rail fare, what difference does it make how many crowd into a sleeper room?
I had this very same thought--however, it's really a matter of reducing problems in the sleeping car section.

The rule is strict for a reason: The problems of people throwing parties, stealing things or being unaccounted for in the event of an accident outweigh the benefits of...being a better experience for a small segment of sleeper car passengers?
 

Qapla

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My brother and I were able to have a tour of the sleeper car while riding coach on a day trip to Tampa last year. Right after our tour, the conductor took a couple others on the same tour

We even got to go into the roomette and bedroom (empty ones) to see "how they feel" with the door closed.
 

zephyr17

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How does the "open ticket" thing work? Also, I thought the accommodation charge was per person rather than per room. I'm mixed up?
The accommodation charge is for the room, not per person. Similar to how hotels charge.

"Open Sleeper" tickets are sleeper tickets that don't have a room attached to that reservation. They can be used, for example, if you have a companion for only part of your journey. They are "linked" to the sleeper reservation, but are separate and I think they can only be booked by the holder of the sleeper reservation. Like the rail portion of a sleeper ticket, they are always at the lowest coach "value" bucket, since the passenger won't be occupying a coach seat, consuming coach inventory.

There are a couple of complications. They can't be booked online. It takes a knowledge phone agent to do it. They are one of the very few ticket types that can't be booked as an eticket. It has to be issued as a paper value ticket, so it had to be picked up at a staffed station, a QuikTrak kiosk or mailed.

When I first read this thread, I was going to respond explaining Open Sleeper tickets, but realized that I what I knew was regarding the regular LD trains. I don't know if it applies to the AutoTrain, which is unique in many respects.
 
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